The Divas have seen a steady increase in first time Diva Dwellers in the past 2 years and the numbers are growing rapidly. Seattleites are saying goodbye to renting and hello to the joys of home ownership. For many the prospect of dealing with crappy landlords and skyrocketing rents is a HUGE motivation. Team Diva has always attracted a fair amount of first time home buyers. This year it has been fascinating to see this huge surge in first timers largely due to Seattleâ€™s still affordable housing market and interest rates so low that loans seem practically free. But for many of our Diva Dwellers, their motivation it often also about making a greater commitment to the urban community they are already living in or just building community in general.
Rental prices have gone up 10% in general in the Seattle area and even higher in some core neighborhoods. At the same time there is a huge rush to build as many apartment buildings as possible to accommodate the surge in new renters relocating here to work at Amazon and other Seattle industries. Our friend Michael (also known as DonnaTella Howe, the current reigning Miss Gay Seattle) became a new Diva Dweller in August. In January he received a letter from his landlord stating that his rent was going to go up by $200 a month. This was a HUGE increase.
â€œAs soon I received that letterâ€, Michael told us, â€œI decided it was time to look for a home I knew I could live in an build equity. With urging from my mom I began looking for a place on Capitol Hill that I could really see myself in. I did just that and I’m so happy I made this leap. It’s so amazing to come home to something that is mine. â€œ
We are proud to say he is now the owner of a lovely one bedroom garden level co-op in the heart of Capitol Hill.
Recently it seems the media has picked up on what we have experiencing everyday in Seattle. Last week, we received a call from Wendy Kaufman at NPR’s Morning Edition, for input on a story about this new surge of folks moving from renting to owning. We put her in touch with ourÂ Diva Dwellers Kitsy and Janko Â to chat about their recent purchase of a 1920â€™s fixer bungalow in the Central Area. Kitsy and Janko had been renting a small apartment in the Central Area for a few years. Their rental was ok but they had a shared yard and a far from decent space that they never felt they could make their own. As soon as they moved into their new home and their neighbors found out they had bought the house everyone introduced themselves to Kitsy and Janko. They were overwhelmed. When they were renters in the neighborhood, no one really went out of their way to meet them. Now they are becoming part of the fabric of their Central District neighborhood. Listen to the whole interview after the jump
The reason many folks come to the Seattle Divas to buy a home is that they know we share their same commitment to creating community. Buying a home is more than buying an asset or getting a tax deduction. It is about establishing yourself in a neighborhood and becoming connected and committed to what happens in that block, street and hood. Home ownership is a key factor in building community, which makes our neighborhoods and our city stronger.
Maybe now is not the right time for you to purchase a home but if home ownership is part of your dream/goal then it is not a bad idea to start prepping for that big moment. Our pals Rocky and Ricardo know they want a place of their own in the next couple of years and are working on their credit and saving money for their down payment. They are also preparing themselves emotionally for what it means to be a homeowner. You cannot call the landlord when you have a leak in the roof. But at the same time you can be guaranteed to have the same payment for 15-30 years. You can entertain your friends and family in your own backyard. You can change out that hideous carpet for something better. You can change your life in ways you may have never imagined.